Property squeeze

Number of homes for sale plummets by up to 47%

Homes for sale boards
Homes are selling quickly (pic: Terry Murden)

Scotland has seen the number of homes on sale in some areas plummet by as much as 47% in the past year, partly because fewer were built during the pandemic.

There are also growing signs that EU nationals are returning, increasing demand across the property sector.

Research by estate agency DJ Alexander found that the number of properties available for sale fell by between 31% and 47% year on year between January 2021 and 2022. The only exception was Aberdeen where the fall in volumes was down just 3%.

The highest drop in property numbers occurred in Stirling where volumes dropped 47%. This was closely followed by Dundee at 46%; Glasgow down 45%; Paisley falling 43%; and Edinburgh and Perth dropping 42% and 40% respectively.

Although these falls in available property levels are replicated across the rest of the UK, the reduction in volumes is generally in the 20% range across most of England’s larger cities. The exception is York where there has been a 61% drop whereas London, Manchester, Liverpool, and Birmingham have all experienced falls between 21% and 26%.

David Alexander, chief executive of DJ Alexander Scotland, said: “Anyone involved with the property sector will already know that there is a severe shortage of properties for sale on the market and those that do arrive are being sold very quickly.

“The volumes have fallen across most of Scotland with the exception of Aberdeen which continues to be subdued and is likely to remain so for as long as there is no clear sign of what is going to happen with the oil and gas sector.”

He added: “For the rest of Scotland it is something of a boom time. The increase in interest rates may have an impact at some point but given the scale of the shortages of property it is unlikely to rapidly reduce demand in the marketplace.”

He said that apart from the impact of the pandemic, demand was also affected by subsequent labour and material shortages.


“We need to have a certain number of new properties built each year simply to keep up with demand and if that stops for even a relatively short period the impact is substantial on demand,” he said.

“Equally, there are growing signs of a return of EU nationals and others to work in Scotland, and this increases demand across the property sector which has a knock-on impact upon availability.”

He said property prices may slow in the coming months, “but as long as demand remains at this level and supply remains subdued it is hard to see any dramatic fall in prices.”

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